Pay Per Click Advertising For Realtors® in Four Steps

Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.” – H. James Harrington

Unlike other forms of marketing like radio, TV, SEO, shopping carts, billboards and social media, pay per click (PPC) advertising provides an easily measurable way to determine the effectiveness of your marketing dollar spend.

If done properly, you should be able to show a profitable return on investment (ROI) from your PPC campaigns.

Here is a short guide on how to do PPC campaigns to attract potential buyers for existing homes for sale.

1. Traffic

It all starts with quality traffic. Your traffic source is vitally important. The visitors to your web site should be comprised of people interested in buying homes in your specific marketing area (i.e. the person will have done a search like “homes for sale in Rye New York” or “Rye homes for sale”). Traffic from areas less specific (i.e. county wide, nearby towns, or state level searches) or from people searching specifically for foreclosures, new homes or rentals will convert at lower levels.

If you wish to reach people interested in foreclosures, new homes or rentals you’ll have to run separate campaigns and construct separate landing pages to attract these visitors.

Traffic from local city data sites that contain homes for sale links often convert well as visitors to those sites are often researching an area with a view to determine a place to live. Searchers on city data sites, however may often be curiosity visitors with no intentions of purchasing a home.

Where do I get traffic?


You can get traffic by buying it yourself from Google or Bing/Yahoo.

Purchasing visits from Google or Bing is relatively straight forward and each has their own tools to help you select keywords and to construct ads.

You create an ad, select key words, your budget, the price you wish to pay per click and designate the URL’s to where you want your traffic directed. This process can be time consuming and you will be competing against other realtors and companies who may be able to devote more time and resources to their paid search campaigns.

SEM Services

You can pay a professional to manage your Bing and Google campaigns.

Professionals use advanced software and bidding techniques (like day parting, long tail searches and varied ad copy) to get the best prices.

Keep in mind their fee needs to be calculated into your effective cost per click.

Traffic Aggregators

You can also buy traffic from traffic aggregators who will charge you a set price per click. Some may generate their own organic traffic, engage in paid search or work with local sites or any combination thereof. Depending on the traffic quality and price, these may be the most cost effective way to engage in PPC.

2. Landing Pages

A landing page is where you send your visitors. Your landing page should be simple and mirror the language of your ad. (i.e. homes for sale in Rye)

No registration, registration or delayed registration?

While there has been much debate about whether you should require visitors to your site to register, there is no debate when conducting a PPC campaign – you must request that your visitors register. Keep in mind the landing pages that you use for PPC campaigns are separate from the rest of the pages on your web site and are only viewable through your PPC campaigns.

Requesting registration results in a higher conversion rate. Your invitation to register should include copy noting that by doing so the visitor will get access to the MLS, the most accurate and complete set of homes for sale listings (vs. the often outdated or incomplete listing found on listing aggregator sites), mentioning that you will help them find a home and will send them notifications of homes that may be of interest.

You can register your visitors immediately or you can employ a delayed registration technique where by registration is not required to view the first few listings but is required if the user wants to see more.

What information do I ask for?

At a minimum you need to require an email address in order to allow the visitor to view the listings on your web site. The more information you require, the fewer leads you will get. While a phone number is valuable, if you require it, you will get fewer leads.

The best thing to do is to make the visitor’s phone number optional but highlight it in your lead form. Even though not required, you will get many phone numbers. Through prompt follow up emails and email correspondence you will eventually be able to get the visitor’s phone number so that you may continue your dialogue.*

Testing the layout of your landing pages is essential to determine the best format. Sometimes the best looking web site is not the one that converts best.

I am fond of saying that “ugly often converts beautifully”.

3. Track, Track Track!

Assuming you are going to be buying a few hundred visits a month you should be getting dozens of leads a month and you will need a system to manage them. There are many Customer Relationship Management (CRM) providers who do an excellent job of providing you with the tools necessary to track and manage your leads.

You’ll need to select the CRM that is priced right for your needs as some provide built in traffic and lead guarantees while others allow you to import your own PPC traffic.

You will need to track how many clicks you got, how many visitors left an email address and/or phone number, how many left a valid email address or a valid phone number or both.

Of your valid email and phone leads you’ll need to track how many you were able to contact, how many were your able to work with and how many closed a deal. Of the ones that closed deals you should determine the average order size. To determine overall ROI, you will divide the value of your commissions by the amount you spent on your PPC campaigns.

4. Follow up!

None of the above will work if you don’t contact your leads. For more on this topic see
Realtors:Put that Coffee down! on the Smaulgld blog.

At Smaulgld, we can help you set up and manage your PPC campaigns and give advice on all four steps of the process.

For further details please contact; 510-529-5696

Mitch Ribak, a successful Florida broker has written an excellent book on PPC (for which I penned the introduction) and you can buy it on Amazon by clicking on the link below.

*make sure to follow the CANSPAM rules in your email correspondence.